Silent Meetings: A New Trend or Inclusivity at its Finest?

Shefali Vasave | July 5, 2022 | 703 views | Read Time : 03 min

Silent Meetings
Can a meeting be silent? Can something meant to exchange ideas and illustrate visions do away with verbal communication altogether? Popularized almost a decade ago by eCommerge giant Amazon, silent meetings are now taking Silicon Valley by storm. But what’s making them popular, and what happens when people in a meeting are forced to write down their thoughts before they can air them during calls?

What Are Silent Meetings?

According to a report by Fortune, senior executives are handed a memo at the start of the meeting that they must read in complete silence for over half an hour. They can make notes in the margin that they are encouraged to share and discuss once everyone is done reading the memo. In some companies, employees can make a note of their ideas and inputs in an online document shared by the whole team.

Benefits of the Process

The most significant benefit that this process yields is the inclusivity factor. According to a study by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, for 60% of a meeting, the same two people will talk more than other attendees.

Silent meetings eliminate imbalanced conversations and create a much-needed diversity of opinions. They are known to increase engagement from participants and make the attendees’ time worthwhile.

However, according to Oyster’s head of workplace design, Rhys Black, silent meetings foster deeper participation because attendees are required to be more present to provide written comments. In contrast, traditional meetings only allow one person to be vocal at a time.

To Summarize

When true collaboration is in order, silent meetings can be a great way to generate individual feedback with some adjustments from everyone in the team. An unsynced document can be shared with each member that aims to educate the team on the problem, propose solutions, and identify a deadline for the solution. This ensures that everyone attending the meeting is on the same page and looped in about possible developments that can then be discussed live in order to maximize the creativity of the people attending the meeting.

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